hammer and tongs


with great vigor, determination, or vehemence: When he starts a job he goes at it hammer and tongs.

Origin of hammer and tongs

First recorded in 1700–10

Synonyms for hammer and tongs

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hammer and tongs

Historical Examples of hammer and tongs

  • He slapped Ferdy in the mouth, and the next second they were at it hammer-and-tongs.

    Gordon Keith

    Thomas Nelson Page

  • I wasn't afraid of his frown or of his hammer-and-tongs manner.

    The Militants

    Mary Raymond Shipman Andrews

  • In another moment they were both at it, hammer-and-tongs, with the advantage in Bulger's favor, owing to his build and strength.

  • Moreover, the very next day I heard of a more congenial matter in the hammer-and-tongs department of my august profession.

    Canada for Gentlemen

    James Seton Cockburn

  • But in no case have I much faith in the hammer-and-tongs process at the opening of a campaign.

Idioms and Phrases with hammer and tongs

hammer and tongs

Forcefully, with great vigor. For example, She went at the weeds hammer and tongs, determined to clean out the long neglected flowerbed. Often put as go at it hammer and tongs, this phrase alludes to the blacksmith's tools. [c. 1700]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.